In the weeks ahead, I’m going to engage the big problems everyone is discussing in advance of New Orleans. Before that, I want to engage a problem at the root of these difficulties that many are missing.
The Nature of Disagreements
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is disagreeing on a lot right now. It is not the end of the world to disagree, especially when those disagreements are important. Most disagreements become a problem, however, when you mistreat each other in the disagreement.
Southern Baptists are mistreating each other in our disagreements. I am regularly shocked by how toxic our discourse is. We take swipes at each other on Twitter, question integrity, judge motives, talk badly about one another in our committee meetings, publicly demean when we should privately discuss,...
A Southern Baptist Meltdown
Right now, Southern Baptists are in the midst of a veritable smorgasbord of near chaos. Whether the issue is the rejection by the executive committee of the search team’s candidate to lead that entity, the highly unusual development that our incumbent president will face an opponent for reelection, the opposition of an influential pastor to The Baptist Faith and Message (BFM), or our lack of clarity on how to proceed on sexual abuse, the convention is facing all manner of serious problems.
We are in the gyrations of a full Southern Baptist meltdown.
What Is Really Going on
The conservative resurgence has defined Southern Baptist life for over thirty years. That powerful force created leadership and stability in convention life for a generation. During that resurgent...
Dear First Baptist Family,
I am writing to give you an important update on my health and ministry.
I’ll start with my health.
After surgery number five, there are a lot of reasons to be encouraged. I have not experienced any nerve pain since awakening from surgery, and my spasms have improved every day. These are the best signs available that the surgery was successful. It will take time to determine whether new scar tissue will replace what they removed, but prayer is the only thing we can do about that, and that is the very best thing.
I have been feeling really good for about the last week. I only needed to meet with my surgeon to get my staples and stitches removed, to be taken off antibiotics, and to be cleared to return to normal life. That all happened this morning. My surgeon is...
I’m not sure if Covid and its isolation played a role in our thinking or rethinking of friendships. But I know during this time of “hunkering down,” I insulated myself, and my friendships did not thrive. Covid is in the rearview mirror now, but I do think we are experiencing some residual effects. Let’s do some thinking and see what we, as friends, can do to think biblically about friendship. I’ll dive in with a line from an email a friend recently sent me; “I really enjoy doing life together with you.”
The saying “doing life together” is thrown around a lot these days. I really like the saying, and I think I understand the intent behind it, but what does it mean for ladies to “do life together”? One of the answers is: “life together” is friendship. What a kind gift God has given...
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
The Bible is clear that our goal as parents should be to raise our kids in such a way that they will be lifelong disciples of Jesus Christ. It is a simple goal that we should all easily agree with. The reality is that parenting is one of the hardest things you will ever do. Parenting can feel like a roller coaster. There will be times that you wonder if you and your teenager are even speaking the same language!
Summer is a wonderful opportunity for you to connect with your student. There is more time for you to spend intentional time with your students, so here are some tips on how you can better connect with them. What I hope to do in this post is give you a few practical ideas that...
Dear First Baptist Family,
Today is the very first day I have actually felt like much and have been clear-headed and medication-free enough to feel I could communicate reliably.
Even though the intense nature of the surgery makes progress hard to judge in the early days and weeks, I am encouraged about where I am. To update you, I’ll first share the most encouraging pieces of information and then pass along some areas where I would love your continued prayers.
I am encouraged that, in the grand scheme of things, I am healing rather quickly. Though my neurosurgeon warned that I should prepare for a longer time in the hospital to recover, I actually experienced a relatively short hospitalization. I am experiencing none of the nerve pain that I was before surgery and hardly any surgery pain....
Our tongue is an amazing piece of God’s creative handiwork in our bodies! In one sense, it is an anatomical anomaly. The tongue is the only body part that contains muscles that are not attached to a bone at both ends. Unlike your biceps, which are attached to your elbow and shoulder joints, the tongue is an intertwined matrix of muscles that pull on each other, giving it the flexibility to twist and turn into a seemingly endless array of shapes and sizes. It also possesses tremendous stamina as it works tirelessly throughout the day in the activities of talking, eating, and removing food from your teeth. I mean, when was the last time you said, “Boy, my tongue is tired,” or “Man, my tongue muscles are sore!” Probably never.
But not only is the tongue an intricate mass of muscles,...
On Sunday, I announced my need for a fifth brain surgery and thought the operation was weeks away. On Tuesday, my doctor said he wanted to do the surgery today—Friday.
That surprise is a reminder that so much of life is found in all we do not know.
The I-Don’t-Knows of Life
Life happens in a flash of the immediate present. Once that flash is complete, it instantly becomes the past. Our knowledge of those past moments comes only after the fact. Our future moments are everything beyond the present flash of lived experience. We never know what those moments will bring.
Sometimes we have good guesses about what the future holds. But guesses are not facts, and likelihoods are not certainties. There are never guarantees about what is coming. When we try to look ahead beyond the immediate flash...
When a medical emergency occurs, there are many types of systems and levels of care that have been developed to help. You can call 911, and an ambulance can come, and there is a trained EMT onboard. Another option would be to drive to the emergency room and trained ER docs and nurses are there to help. The Urgent Care facility in your area of town is also available to care for your needs. Doctors, nurses, paramedics, imaging technicians, and pharmacists have varying areas of expertise to help when there is a need. We are grateful for all of these options.
Here at First Baptist Church, we have also developed various types of care systems, both for immediate and preventative care for those experiencing brokenness in life in general and in marriage in particular. We have done this so we can...
This morning I shared some hard and frustrating news with First Baptist.
In the last week, I learned I will require another surgery for ongoing neurological problems in my brain. It is painfully ironic that I was learning about my need for this fifth brain surgery during the week of the release of my new book, which had its origin in my very first surgery.
The release of that book seemed, in my mind, to be commemorating the end of this season of struggle.
Let me explain this unanticipated setback.
How I Got Here
In 2018 I was diagnosed with what doctors called a vascular compression of cranial nerves in my brain. That means a cluster of blood vessels was applying pressure to a crucial nerve in my brain that controls movement on the right sight of my body. That pressure was creating serious...